7/01/2013 North Cape to Mill River Provincial Park.


I awaken to the powerfull roar of the Colossus. What a thrill, to sleep in the giants shadow, to awaken to it’s voice.

But I still have arrythmia. I set off anyway. I’m working my way back south east having been to to Cape North yesterday. i’m going to follow the coast on route 12, it’s more interesting than the bicycle trail. There is almost no traffic.

At last- a ship raking for Irish Moss near Tignish. I confirm this with a strolling local.

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Again, so much beautiful water.
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The red of the island’s soil creates a surprising beach.

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The water is turbid with red soil.

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Spraying the potatoes.

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I stopped at the town of Alberton for some breakfast. I liked little Alberton, the people all said hello, and they had just stocked their little pond with fish and were having a fishing tournament. So many young people!

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But my arrythmia was really hitting hard today. I had to catch my heart by resting on hills I should have breezed up. I decided to take camp as soon as possible and made Mill River Provincial Park around 2:00PM. It is $32 for a tent site. Wifi is in the country club next door.

So I clean up and walk to the private Mill River Country Club, find a cozy spot, and enjoy the wifi. Ahhh, it is so nce to relax indoors. I feel tenson easing. Later I enjoy a rather elegant dinner in their resteraunt. I feel the tension drain, and my arrythmia leaves. Yay! So I need to treat this trip a little more like a vacation, and less like a marathon. I am used to being tough on myself, can I learn to relax? I must, or I can’t continue to cycle tour. I stopped cycling to keep from passing out, my heart in arrythmia can’t keep up with the work of cycling uphill.

6/30/2013 Chrysostome to North Cape, PEI.


I awake in the middle of the night to go pee. Wait- there’s a light just outside my tent- a flashlight- I’ve been discovered- Merde! Then the light goes away. I cautiously step outside- and am surrounded by blinking firefly fairy lights. Oh, how marvelous, it is so lovely, I jump with delight.

I awake with arrythmia, so I decide to take it easy. Fortunately there is a strong tail wind, and I can just sail along up highway 2, then cut to the bike trail in Portage.

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There are so many different wildflowers I decide I must photograph some to show you.

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I ride up to Bloomfield, and then tiring of the bike trail scenery, I cut for the coast, go sailing up lovely highway 14 and stop to visit Miminegash, the self proclaimed Irish Moss capital of the world.

But the place looks pretty dead.

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I pull over to talk to the gentlemen sitting outside the convenience store, always a good source of knoweledge. They tell me the industry has been dead for thirty years. There is another moss growing in the bay, from which carogeen can be derived, but that carogeen is green, whereas the carogeen from Irish Moss is white, which makes it a much better food aditive. They bemoan how this end of the island is emptying out, and I am sympathetic, having seen a fair percentage of empty looking homes and farms.

I decide to try and cycle to the end of the island today, North Cape, which has a large experimental wind facility.

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These guys are enormous. For me, it is like being in a cathedral to be close to such creations. Check out one blade resting on the ground:

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Another shot:

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I spend a few hours there learning all I can, soaking up the sun, and charging my laptop. When I leave, I have a hunch I can camp close to a giant, having seen a promising road. And it pans out. Can you find my tent, orange, bottom left?

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I am leaning against the base of the giant as I write this, sitting on it’s concrete pad. The tips of the blades slice the air at 70 plus mph. They sound like whips. The steel clyinder that holds up the windmill creaks and twangs and sounds like a gearbox, hums with power. This turbine is generating 330 thousand watts. The rooftop solar on my house, in comparison, generates 3 thousand watts. I am so thrilled to be on intimate terms with this most elegant expression of the good man can do.

I’ll guard it well tonight.

6/29/2013 Carlton to St-Chrysostome, PEI


I am excited to ride the Carlton Trail on Prince Edward Island. I have checked it out last night and the surface is smooth, and there are no large potholes to dodge.

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What a good trail- Good job trail builders. But like most rails to trails, the scenery is mostly uninteresting as the trail does not go through towns. It is all about potato farms.

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So I break off and ride highway 1A into Summerside after 5 miles or so. The potato industry is well, though it has a dark side. In an effort to minimize the amounts of chemicals sprayed on farmlands, the government has mandated that potatos must be rotated with other crops and can be grown only once every three years. It’s not pesticides that are sprayed, but Roundup, as the potatos don’t compete well with the amazing crush of green evident everywhere. My sourse tells me that Prince Edward Island has the highest cancer rate of Canada, and it is believed it is due to the extensive farming.

Potatoes- worth it?

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Prince Edward Island has a wonderful resource in the wind. I am heading towards the North Cape which has a wind power reseach station. Many individuals and institutions
have cast the net and wind generators are fairly common.

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Here’s another from my theme of “Churches too Big for their Community”. This is the Eglise Notre Dame, and there is an inspiring story about a mans vision.

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The minister back in 1898 had a dream of building this church, and managed to borrow seventy five thousand dollars. The church was built with all local materials, woods, bricks, labor. The loan was paid back in 30 years.

There was a blind man sitting in front as a docent. He was a wealth of information. He was Acadian, which refers to the French population that was expelled when the island became English. Later they were allowed back. His native tounge is French, and he speaks English like an Irishman. This area, north of Summerside along route 11 is the old Acadian area.

An lovely structure, an inspiring story, very cold inside.

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What can I say about the feeling here? It feels gentle, soft. The island is lushly green, very moist. The grund everywhere is hummusy. It is like a dream cycling here, mostly level, few cars, idyllic scenery. And occasionaly something odd like this pops up. Hmm, gives me an idea of what to do with all those old olive oil bottles.

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Typical landscapes

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It is hard to find a place to stealth camp. I try many spots, but the ground is too boggy. Also, there are a lot of small acreages, I think I have found a good woods, but dive in and realize it is someones yard. At last I find the right spot. I make camp, take a shower, and the sky opens up. Sigh.

6/28/2013 Borden-Carlton, PEI


Trucks roll by all night. My little nest is 300 yards off the road behind some wild rose bushes. In the morning it is still misty/rainy and I hear the slush as the trucks speed along the wet highway. But Prince Edward Island is close, and I am jazzed to get there. Besides, I have been reading Anne of Green Gables on my Kindle and am feeling perky. What would Anne do?

You can’t actually ride a bike across the bridge. You have to call for a van pickup at the visitors center. I am lucky and get a young guy who is really into a light carbon footprint, and we hit it off. I invite him to my home in Florida. I think I’ll see him again someday.

The visitors center on PEI is very helpful and I end up riding a short distance to a bonafide campground, which costs $42. I do my laundry in shifts so I have something to wear, and even wash my smelly tent. I have a little shelter to camp under, and a big piece of blue tarp provided by the manager so my tent doesn’t have to get dirty again. The game room has free wifi, so here I sit, completely comfortable, while it rains outside.

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Moose are considered to be the most dangerous animals in North America- partially because if you drive into one you hit it’s legs, causing its 1200 lb. body to crash into your windshield. I’m going to give em a wide berth.

6/27/2013 Halfway River East Nova Scotia to Port Elgin, New Brunswick


I woke up rarin to go, and so I did. I’ll be on Prince Edward Island tomorrow, a place that a few months ago I would have guessed was in Europe, and now seems like a place that I know well through reading.

Cycling through Cumberland County is pretty flat. Again, I just let my legs do the work and try and not to think for them. We travel 30 some miles by 11:00 and make Amherst.

I find a bargain- only 40,000 and I bet they’d take less because the paint on the sign is faded to illegibility. And it sits on 6 acres!

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Little house, big water at Baie Verte, a small part of the Northumberland Strait.

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Amherst gives me the willies- it creeps me out. I don’t know why, it is too pussed up and churchfilled and seemed to sneer “We have it all figured out and if you don’t agree get out.” I feel tension and fear and posturing in the populace.

Despite the visitors center question mark logo, and the arrow pointing into town, there is no visitor’s center. The old church seems to be the town center, and when I stop there the secretary confides that “they like to leave it up because it sends people to town who visit the church.” She is a friendly peach and lets me sit in the church and use their wifi.

Someone tells me to “get the hell back where I came from.” A more friendly soul tells me about a bicycle trail that runs to the base of the bridge to Prince Edward Island. Perfect! I resolve to look for it.

I find it! It’s part of the trans-Canada bicycle trail that is nearing completion.

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It starts off pretty.

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It seems to be paralleling highyway 16, which makes sense. It is through swampish land, and is slow going. The soft surface, dodging potholes and puddles and avoiding the biggest bumps takes concentration and lower gears.

After 10 miles or so I am getting pretty tired of getting beaten up. And then I hit a long stretch of this large loose gravel.

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It is unrideable. I keep having to stop to keep from falling. Who ever designed this as a bicycle trail should be forced to ride a bicycle on it- that would be severe punishment. I give up and push the bike a ways. But the coarse gravel seems to go on and on. So I turn around, and walk a half mile back to a cross street and ride the paved road. What a relief!

It’s raining. I’m camped just off the highway behind some bushes, far from ideal, but it is too wet and darkish to ride the highway. 59.5 miles. Prince Edward Island tomorrow!

6/26/2013


Sleep was difficult last night, the bullfrogs are amazingly loud in their choruses, even to the point of startling me when the closer ones sound. I hear the throat of one drag on the ground before it sounds, and it makes a double noise like a fart/croak as it projects a raspy honk into the nights rain. I make several wet, frustrating, flashlit expeditions to try and shush the little bugger, but can not find him.

The sound of rain on the tent is pleasing to me, and strong winds keep the tent quivering. I monitor the lake waterline to be sure it isn’t rising and threatening my camp. I am deep into David Copperfield and can’t put it down. Sometime in the morning I become sleepy enough to ignore all the stimulation, and doze off.

I awake to heavily overcast weather with rain and a strong wind. Difficult riding. The rain is not so bad, but I don’t like riding in dark conditions for safety reasons, and the wind would be a straight on headwind. I also have a bit of arrythmia, probably from all the sugar in the half gallon of cold fruit juice I bought at the co-op yesterday and slugged down in 20 minutes…

I have plenty of time to explore Prince Edward Island and still meet Sage on July 8th. So I stay put.

But, I am mulling over not cycling here much beyond Sage’s stay. I am thankful for the priveledge of seeing beautiful maritime Canda, and after 21 days my animal self has awoken, but the culture is too western to enchant or challenge me. Cycling in India or anywhere in Asia sparkles right now- even with the charming bullfrogs!

6/25/2013 Lower Onslo to Halfway River East


My body is feeling good. I am letting it do it’s thing, which is to set the right speed for how it is feeling. I try and stay out of the way, an observer perched on an organic engine. It’s amazing to me how those legs keep pumping all day, hour after hour. It’s amazing to me how we keep moving along, 40, 50, 60.5 miles today.

Route 2 along the Minas Basin of Nova Scotia starts with gentle rolls from Truro, and gradually develops into moderate rolls with a few steep climbs. It is mostly farming communities along the way, with some crafts thrown in. The houses are all wooden with wood siding.

The bay is the big thing, inhaling and exhaling twice every 24 hours. When I was riding it was between breaths.

Upper Economy. There is also a town called Lower Economy, but I only bring you the best.

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A view of the filling tidal flats from a 50 foot cliff.

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Typical farmland scene.

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Passing through the town of Five Islands. Except, they aren’t islands at the present.

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Ok, all you wind power buffs, here’s a new one- a wind generator made of old ironing boards- oh, and so is the fence.

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Yes, I know you want to study the details, so here is a close up.

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I made it to Parrsboro and after shopping and emailing, turned away from the coast, inland on 2. About 10 miles in I found this place to camp, right on a lake. The water is brisk, and I enjoy the swim.

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It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.

6/24/2013 The Truro Tidal Bore


The Bay of Fundy has the largest tidal range on the planet. That creates some dramatic revealings of sandy beachs and cliffs, and also pushes and sucks water out of the creeks that flow into it. The Bay of Fundy has a subbay called the Minas Basin, which has a subbay called Cobequid Bay. That is where I am standing to watch the incoming tide push its way up this river. I missed the bore by half an hour yesterday and have waited 24 hours for it’s return.

Waiting. It is scheduled to happen at 2:22.

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At 2:25, we hear a rushing of water and this bore makes it way around the bend in the river and approaches rapidly.

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And it passes, headed upstream until the rising tide can lift it no farther.

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And that’s it.

THe day is dark and sprinkly. I ride only 6 miles up the road and make camp at 3:00PM. I don’t want to be caught out if it starts to rain.

Sometimes I get lonely. I miss Leslie and my friends and my domestic life. There is no “but” coming, I just do. I think of everyone often.

I don’t know what this trip is giving me just yet. I don’t do it only to sightsee, I do it for adventure, to practice flexibility, and to overcome adversity. We’ll see.

6/22 and 6/23, Halifax/Dartsmouth to Truro


It’s Friday evening in a six bed dorm room at the Backpackers Hostel in a seedy part of downtown Halifax, $28 a night. It’s 9:30PM, and the ony one in bed is a tired cyclist. He decides to leave the one window wide open despite the disco right across the street booming a monotonous drum track. The ladder to his bunk is covered with girls clothing; pants, a bra, panties. Should he touch it-move it- to climb up to his bunk- or just step on it? What would Ms Manners do?

He decides to just climb on it.

Around 1:00AM the disco is still going strong. The last roomate comes in and slams the window shut. Great. Six hot breathing bodies in a smallish bedroom. At 3:00AM the disco closes. The room is stifling, humid and hot. The cyclist climbs down over the womans clothes and throws the window back open. The fresh air helps all to sleep.

TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF ME- DON”T TOUCH ME- JUST GET AWAY FROM ME!!! All us roomates sit bolt upright in our bunks as this is shrieked by a woman just outside our window. It goes on a few moments- a male roomate declares it is a rape and pulls some pants on to go out and help! A few minutes later I hear a car door slam and drive away. The roomate returns dissappointed. “It was just a cop arresting some girl” he says. We all try to go back to sleep.

6/22/2013. I wake up first. It is 7:30 AM, late for me. I realize that I am the only one awake and attempt to be very quiet climbing down on the girls clothing. I walk to the Farmers Market and get info about bus schedules. I return about 10:30. Everyone is still asleep.

Halifax Farmers Market- Just Wonderful, held every Saturday. Indoors is a good idea in their climate.

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Jane and Eric are Warm Showers hosts who offer to let me stay at their house- even though they aren’t there- they are away at a Folk Music Festival. As part of my training I am trying to learn to graciously ask for and accept all good things. This is very hard for me, I don’t want to put people out, and I am so damn independent. But I have some good models for this in my life. Jane texts me with the lock code for the back door. I cycle and ferry over to Dartmouth and the code actually works. The door opens and YOWLLLL.

They have a pudgy Calico cat who wants out desperatly. I want to be the prefect guest. Do I let the cat out or keep him in? I decide that keeping him in is the safer choice. He settles into being my best friend after a serious investment in petting and opening a window for him to look out of. They have a book “The Barefoot Architect” that I have been wanting to read and I devour it. The cat reminds me constantly that I have duties.

6/23/2013 I leave early and head towards Prince Edward Island. I ride highway 2 out of Dartmouth. It is fantastic cycling, gently rolling, little traffic, and lake home scenery. Towards Schubencadie on 2 the road becomes more rollie farmland, very pleasurable.

I am heading for Truro to see a tidal bore. Not a total bore, I could just look in the mirror. A tidal bore is when a wave caused by the incoming tide goes up a river and can actually be surfed in a rubber boat. I have been told there is an abandoned hotel that is a good place to watch the tidal bore here in Truro. The visitors center knows exactly what I am talking about, and gives me a map directing me to it. It is located on “Tidal Bore Road”, how appropriate. The problem is that I just missed it. The bore did it’s thing a half hour ago. The next bore is at 12:50 AM, the next is at 1:22 tomorrow afternoon. I cycle out to the abandoned hotel on Tidal Bore Road and study the brownish river. Nothing going on here.

I cycle back to the visitors center and ask where do the kids go swimming. They know exactly where, Victoria Park at the falls. I explain I am a traveling cyclist and am looking for a place to stealth camp, do they think Victoria park would be appropriate? I am sure by the raised eyebrows and the attempts at diplomacy they have never been asked that question before. I decide to go for a swim and see for myself.

Victoria Park in Truro is where all the families go on a warm summers day like today. The park centers around a creek which runs down a valley. Wooden steps and walkways criss cross the valleys sides. It is all quite elaborate. I push my bike up to the falls, unzip my pant legs, and jump in. Man is that refreshing. I enjoy all the kids playing in the natural pool. Adults lean over the rail and grin sheepishly. I wash the sweat of the day off in the most casual manner.

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Kids reminding us how it’s done.

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No stealth camping in Victoria park. I must find somewhere. It is 4:00 PM. I rememnber a shopping area that I rode through on my way to Tidal Bore Road. I head there and poke around behind the backs of all the box stores. After about 20 minutes I find the place. I camp behind a fast food resterant, a hotel and a tire store. A little scrap of forgotten land with some trees and elevation hides me.

Where is Shawn? He’s writing after riding a 72 mile day.
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There he is- but you’d never of found him if I hadn’t shown you.
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The wind hits the tent hard with a one/two punch, and it starts to rain. No worries. The traffic noise is muffled by tentdrops. Must figure out how to cook a pizza with no oven.

6/21/2013 French Village to Halifax


I awoke this morning excited by the prospect of seeing Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s cove is the most touristed lighthouse in Nova Scotia, and is on the must see list for most Nova Scotia tourists. I awoke at 5:00AM packed my bike, rejoiced that my back tire had held air, and took off.

On the way I rode past Hacketts Cove.

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The first sighting of the Peggy’s cove lighthouse.

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This is Peggy’s Cove, a small inlet in the rocky peninsula that is great for docking fishing boats.

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The lighthouse.

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What is amazing is that I have it all to myself, no other tourists. There is a big parking lot for the busses.

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Had a good conversation with Jiri Novek, from the Chezk republic. He has traveled all over the world, but currently has a girlfriend in Halifax. He cussed up a sailors storm over all the blankedy blank tourists that came here. He looked enviously at my bike and said he wanted to do that sometime.

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Reluctantly I left Peggy’s cove for Halifax. So beautiful.

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This rocky part reminded me of Avebury.

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West Dover
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Shad Bay

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I finally made it to Halifax, and crossed over the McDonald bridge to Dartmouth to visit Jane and pick up my bike parts. Then I went to “The Bike Peddler” in downton Dartmouth. They were great, and soon had me on the road with everything repaired. I enjoyed talking with the owner, who has done a lot of touring himself.

Next I took the ferry with my bike across to Halifax, and checked into the backpackers hostel. I found a soft spoken friend in Aaron, who told me the story of the man who killed an attacking grizzly bear by sticking his fist down it’s throat to choke it, then bit it’s juglar till it bled to death. Quite a story!

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Halifax from Citadel hill. Look at all the construction- it really seems to be doing well.

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Oh my God- Japanese tourists drive by taking pictures….

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Halifax waterfront.

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There was a couple selling Segways and giving rides. I fell to talking with them about their business- stayed for nearly an hour, looking at their battery capacity, going over how to power them with the sun, helping out an enthusiast who wanted to ride one across Canada. My electric bike experience provided valuable perspective.

Back in the hostel its nice to be engaged with younger people.

I think it’s important to have a cycling destination, it gives me something to shoot for. I am looking forward to cycling to Truro- I hear the Pallison hotel is abandoned and is the perfect spot to watch a real tidal bore.